Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket

You’ve probably heard of John Boyne, or if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard of his book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I loved that book and when I bought it I finished it in one go between two classes (oh, the time I still had classes…).
This book is, like his previous work, a children’s book, but definitely a good read for adults as well. Like Matilda. Or The Hobbit. Don’t judge me.

Barnaby Brocket is a little boy who lives in Australia. He has perfectly normal parents, perfectly normal siblings, and a perfectly normal dog. But for some reason, Barnaby Brocket defies the laws of gravity the moment he is born. And I do literally mean the moment he is born. (Anyone else thinking about the crawling baby scene in Trainspotting? I certainly was.)
His parents are appalled by his behaviour and continue to command him to stop with this foolishness, but Barnaby Brocket just can’t. Because this is what normal is for him. He obligingly wears the heavy backpacks and undergoes being tied up to heavy objects, but it makes his ears feel uncomfortable.
Eventually, a terrible thing happens. His mother has had enough, and cuts open his backpack, making Barnaby fly away with nothing to stop him. And this is the start of an amazing adventure where Barnaby meets all sorts of people. All of them weren’t deemed “normal” by their peers, but they all found a way around that, so they can live their way to the fullest. Eventually, near the end of the book, Barnaby has the option to become normal, like his parents had always wanted. You’ll have to read the book if you want to know what he chooses, but I think you can guess.

Like The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, I truly enjoyed this book. It obviously has a moral, and for me it is this: that you should not try to get rid of your quirks, even if they sometimes make things harder, or if people give you a hard time about them. Because sometimes these quirks are the things that make you truly enjoy life. And I’m not saying I (or anyone) should stop trying to improve myself (or themselves), but that I should also accept who I am, the whole me, with all the things that are not normal.

So fuck you, big ugly world. I’m awesome.

Until next time,


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